It’s a steamy summer afternoon in Staten Island and Big Ang and two friends lounge by her backyard pool. The doorbell rings, and Ang runs inside to answer.
In walks 18-year-old Dane Lemma, a blond in board shorts who looks like he just stepped out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue.
“Here’s my pool boy!” Ang shouts excitedly, before kissing his cheek and leading him out back by hand. “Look at his face!”
For the next couple of hours, Dane caters to Ang and her girlfriends’ every need — from fetching them drinks to feeding them grapes poolside, and taking it as they hit on him every chance they get.
It’s surely the summer of Ang.
Her spinoff, “Big Ang,” launched on VH1 in July after she became the breakout star of “Mob Wives” Season 2. Her estranged husband, Neil, recently moved back in. And business is good at the Drunken Monkey, Ang’s bar in Staten Island’s Westerleigh section.
On this day, Angela "Big Ang" Raiola is filming an episode of her spinoff that will air Sunday at 9 p.m. She had previously interviewed cabana boy contenders, and narrowed it down to Dane.
“I interviewed a bunch of them and I picked him,” Ang tells the Daily News. “Because he’s very good-looking with a big great gorgeous smile and beautiful teeth, and that’s what I like.
“I’m having a pool party,” she explains. “I hired a pool boy to service me and and my girlfriends — feed us grapes, make us drinks, and squirt us with water and wipe us down when we’re sweating.”
Dane, who lives in Oakwood when he’s not away at college, qualified for the job because he taught swimming to Catholic-school kids and now works for a pool management company. It doesn’t hurt that he’s cute.
Ang and longtime friends Linda Torres and Jennifer "Little Jen" Patafio lie on lounge chairs while Dane takes their drink orders.
Ang has orange-flavored Stoli with a twist of lime, Linda orders Grey Goose and club soda with lime, and Jen asks for Johnnie Walker Black.
They ask Dane whether he has body hair yet. And then Linda follows him into the cabana. “Don’t look for me, we’ll be in here for a while,” she tells her friends.
Jen orders antipasto, telling Dane, “But you should eat something. You’re going to need your strength with Linda.”
The women become anxious when Dane takes longer than expected to bring their drinks.
“Where’s my pool boy?” Jen asks.
“He’s cutting me up some limes,” Linda answers.
“He got shocked, this boy,” Jen speculates. “He thought he was going to be netting bugs out of the pool.”
Dane resurfaces. “We thought you went to pick some limes off a tree,” Jen cracks.
By this time, the heat has forced the trio into the pool and they’ve all switched to shots of Patrón.
Ang’s barely-out-of-high-school helper leans over to feed her grapes. Out walks Neil Murphy, Ang’s husband, who recently moved back in with her — after getting sober.
He’s surprisingly not threatened by the pool boy, instead seeming to sympathize with him. Neil also points out that he already cleaned the pool himself in the morning, and that a pool boy’s job has nothing to do with feeding Ang grapes.
Changing the subject, Ang demands to know where her birthday present is.
Neil shoots back: “You ordered it! You’re the only girl who orders your own present and then gets mad when it doesn’t come.”
The ladies decide Neil is taking away from their pool boy time, and shoo him away.
Several drinks into the afternoon, the conversation has somehow turned to celebrities with sex addictions, and then to one of Ang’s former boyfriends, whom they’ve nicknamed “powdered sugar zeppole balls.” (Don't ask why.) The pool boy brings more drinks and Linda proposes a toast: “Here’s to Mark Wahlberg. Leave your wife because I #*$% better.”
They clink cups, and the pool party winds down. Ang heads inside her sizable Staten Island home in the quiet neighborhood of Shore Acres.
“My neighbors love me,” she says.
Her home has a modern look and shows her wild side, complete with a zebra-striped chair. There’s a white shag carpet and a pink shag ottoman.
“I changed the whole house to pink,” Ang says. “I think it’s very Anna Nicole Smith.”
She says that Neil moving back is working out. “So far, so good,” Ang says. “But it’ll take one little thing to start me off to throw him out. As long as my husband doesn’t drink, he can stay here. If he ever has another drink, he would have to leave.”
Neil agrees it’s going well so far since the reconciliation. “Everything’s been good,” he says. ‘Third time’s a charm.”
But he says Ang had no reason to complain about not getting a birthday present.
“My wife’s birthday was June 30,” Neil says. “We go through the summer of her birthday. She got plenty of presents — an iPhone, a weekend in Boston, she gets everything.
“She ordered a pocketbook that she really wanted. We’re waiting for it to get sent to us. It’s coming. But I’m going to get tortured till it gets here.”
He adds that his wife is a “good person” and it’s “fun” being married to her. “She’d give you the shirt off her back,” he says. “She’s very loud when she’s with her friends, but she’s a good wife. She cooks, cleans, she does everything.”
He’s not kidding. Big Ang fed a huge plate of pork chops to a VH1 employee there for the shoot.
“I come over for coffee, she makes me a seven-course breakfast,” Jen says. “I come over for lunch, it’s a five-course lunch. I come over for dinner, it’s like, ‘What restaurant do you want? I tell her, and she’ll make me that dinner. Anything she makes, it’s like magic. She just has that touch.”
Ang, Jen and Linda have been friends for decades through the different neighborhoods they’ve lived in in Brooklyn, but won’t say exactly for how long or how old they are. (Ang is 52.)
“I’ve known Angela since we’re 13,” says Linda. “We’ve known each other for fortysomething years, but we like to lie and just say 30, which makes us 10 or 15 years younger. Because that’s the way you’ve got to be when you’re a cougar.”
Meanwhile, Neil turns 40 in September.
Ang has been a fan favorite since appearing on “Mob Wives.” Her late uncle, Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardi, was involved with the Genovese crime family.
Since appearing on the show, she gets mobbed by fans. “I was just in Atlantic City and even at the rest area, they were in the bathroom, taking pictures of me,” Ang says. “I couldn’t get 10 feet without stopping. I had like 50 pictures. It was bizarre, but I loved it.”
She says she goes to her bar, the Drunken Monkey, every Sunday night to watch the show with fans.
Ang recently got a tattoo of her trademark lips on her back, to be revealed in a future episode of “Big Ang.”
“I don’t even want to talk about that,” she says. “I’m done with tattoos.”
She’s proud of her pouty lips, though. “I had it done for my 40th birthday, so that was very long ago, and they’re still here,” Ang says. “It is what it is. I love them. I think they’re nice. I’ve seen people with worse lips.”
One thing has put a damper on Ang’s summer. Her son, Anthony "A.J." Donofrio, surrendered to police in Bay Ridge in June after being indicted for allegedly selling a controlled substance.
She didn’t want to talk about the arrest, but says that in general, she’s “living day by day.”
“That’s how I’ve always lived, day by day,” Ang says. “I have money today. I have no money tomorrow. I don’t care. I’ll always get by and everything will work out.”